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lucy.ea8's Comments

Growth and the case against randomista development

Thanks Linch, a better indicator than adult literacy is youth literacy.

In China 1950, for kids aged 15-19 21.86% of boys had no education, for girls 49.9% had no education.

By 1980 for kids 15-19 1.32% of boys and 3.88% of girls had no education. This is a dramatic improvement.

plus at least naively, we would expect the Cultural Revolution to have wiped out some of the progress

the cultural revolution only stalled increase in education beyond 9th grade, so it had very little effect on literacy rates

Growth and the case against randomista development

From "Challenging Myths about China's One-Child Policy"

The third fatal problem with the “400 million births prevented” claim is that it totally ignores the most significant source of fertility decline worldwide: economic development. As the popular slogan has it, “economic development is the best contraceptive”. China’s dramatic post-1978 economic boom and the profound social changes unleashed by rising incomes and levels of education and rapid urbanization would have driven down birth rates even in the absence of state birth planning campaigns. Given the much more rapid pace of economic and social change in China than in any of the 16 comparison countries used in Figure 3, it is highly likely that the trajectory of birth rate decline in China after 1980 due to this source alone would have been steeper than the average for the 16 comparison countries, and therefore even closer to the observed birth rate changes, as shown in the bottom line in Figure 3. In sum, the claim that China’s one-child policy prevented 400 million births is entirely bogus.

There were two separate claims that I made

1) One child policy had no effect on China's total population

Yong Cai is the best researcher on this question. He clearly says one-child policy had little impact of China's total population. Amartya Sen discusses this issue, and comes to similar conclusion.

2) Regarding effects of education of fertility.

Yong Cai is not the expert I would consult.

Income, education, urbanization all correlate with declining fertility, and he points that out clearly.

It is well known in the human development community that in 1979 pre-reform China had much better health, education, fertility indicators than would be expected given its level of income. The question is why? The answers lie in their social policies at that time (under Mao), where an emphasis was given to basic education and basic healthcare (with barefoot doctors 1 2)

I like Amartya Sen's discussion on China best

Growth and the case against randomista development

hey brunoparga, it is not one interaction that I find problematic. i am happy to be voted down when people respond back. it is those downvotes without a response that troubles me.

i like to interact and try to see others point of view, so its totally ok if you d'ont agree with me, say so, and explain your reasons. we may not agree at the end, but atleast we can try to understand each other.

Growth and the case against randomista development

Regarding voting. I have consistently been "controversial" when I have positive karma on a comment, I can see both +ve and -ve votes. While a few are not voted, and a lot of my comments get voted down.

You have 200 comments with 2000+ karma, I have 100 comments with 25 karma.

This is a pattern I see consistently.

I pointed out the context in which I made my comment.

China also opened up more, and the one-child policy gave it a bigger demographic dividend.

From reading Yong Cai and Amartya Sen etc.. its clear that one child policy had no effect on China's population. First let's agree on those facts.

Regarding education and fertility. I gave you a third paper by Yong Cai in which he acknowledges that education plays a role. Yong Cai is a China specialist not an expert on fertility and demography. As a scholar he reflects the thinking of his peers, and is cautious.

Wolfgang Lutz and others from IIASA and Wittgenstein center for demography research link between fertility and education. They are very clear that there is a strong link.

Whereas before your stated that "widespread education" was the factor explaining China's reduced fertility, now you state that education was one factor among many.

I didn't restate my position. I only quoted Yong Cai, it does not mean I agree completely with him.

I said as much when I wrote

Yong Cai is a specialist demographer focused on China, and not on the link between education and fertility.

You have to appreciate that this takes a lot of time, and a mental toll. If I dont give all my sources, it is because I have pondered this question for years and have read quite a few papers and books. I am not an academic to keep track and source everything.

Prioritizing among the Sustainable Development Goals


1 SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities 4.1569

2 SDG 1: No Poverty 3.7812

3 SDG 5: Gender Equality 3.5569

4 SDG 16: Peace Justice & Strong Institutions 3.0923

5 SDG 7: Affordable & Clean Energy 2.2784

6 SDG 4: Quality Education 2.0549

7 SDG 6: Clean Water & Sanitation1.8721

8 SDG 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth 1.7282

Given the order for goals and targets, it's clear that taxation has to play a role, otherwise how are inequalities going to be reduced?

From FAQ

asked them to identify the first 20 that should be tackled in a multi-year effort to fulfill all of the SDGs. We then asked them to put the 20 they selected into the proper sequence, such that doing each facilitated the tackling of subsequent options.

It's clear. They want to tackle extreme poverty and inequality. economic growth is far less important.

Also relevant. From research to action - the story of a book that changed the way we think about development

the capability approach broadens our lens just to make us see much more
of people's lives and how they interact with the economy rather than narrowly
focusing in this case on income the thinking about human development and the
work that Dreze and Sen had then done began to find a new form of expression
in the human development report I think was one articulation of that with the
largest development agency in the world at the time the human development
reports use the index as a tool to send it the main message which is let us think beyond income
Prioritizing among the Sustainable Development Goals

Hi Aaron,

"Eliminate the most extreme poverty" is ranked 2nd it is given high priority.

"Reduce all poverty by half" is ranked 16th at Medium priority

while "Boost per capita GDP" is ranked 40th at Low priority.

This implies that the "experts" think that "Eliminate the most extreme poverty" is a matter of distribution of money and power via state authority (taxation). Similarly "Reduce all poverty by half" is higher ranked than "per capita GDP growth" its about taxation and distribution again.

If a roughly a dollar a day is given to the 700 million people in extreme poverty, it cost $200 billion roughly. I don't see the political will for this. In contrast putting all kids in school for 12 years has a $39 billion shortfall, that is better use of money (more effective).

Growth and the case against randomista development

regarding one child policy of china

Feng, Wang; Yong, Cai; Gu, Baochang (2012). "Population, Policy, and Politics: How Will History Judge China's One-Child Policy?" (PDF). Population and Development Review. 38: 115–29. doi:10.1111/j.1728-4457.2013.00555.x.
Whyte, Martin K.; Wang, Feng; Cai, Yong (2015). "Challenging Myths about China's One-Child Policy" (PDF). The China Journal.

+ read demographic research from

Growth and the case against randomista development

I consider Hunger and Public Action as one of Sen's best books, it is available as open access online here

Growth and the case against randomista development
I think the outlier there is the US, not Chile.

The nation with highest life expectancy is Japan at 84 years, Chile, USA and every "developed" country is 75+ I would say all of them are on par

I'm just going by India's self-identification.

Not useful. North Korea is Democratic People's Republic of Korea, I guess republicans and democrats in USA should be thrilled. China is communist etc.. British were bringing civilization to the world etc...

Could I please have a source on China being that good

Ouch. My mistake. I should have written clearer. China outshined India in both education and healthcare. Given its history pre-independence it did very well in terms of health and education w.r.t. to "developed" countries. It did not cross rich nations, but did MUCH better than expected for a poor country. My observation was simply that "developed" countries had free public schooling (socialist schooling)

Does "better healthcare" include the several dozen million deaths in the Great Leap Ahead and other assorted atrocities?

Yes I am fully aware of China. I will simply quote Sen

Finally, it is important to note that despite the gigantic size of excess mortality in the Chinese famine, the extra mortality in India from regular deprivation in normal times vastly overshadows the former. Comparing India's death rate of 12 per thousand with China's of 7 per thousand, and applying that difference to the Indian population of 781 million in 1986, we get an estimate of excess normal mortality in India of 3.9 million per year. This implies that every eight years or so more people die in India because of its higher regular death rate than died in China in the gigantic famine of (p.215) 1958–61.37 India seems to manage to fill its cupboard with more skeletons every eight years than China put there in its years of shame.

a really sad thought for 2 reasons. very few people know about the tragedy in India. Secondly the deaths are continuing today preventable deaths are around 4 million a year worldwide.

Was there such desire? If that is the case, why were the right policies not followed? It is not like late 1940s economists couldn't predict that Nehru's policies would have pretty terrible results.

Partly people really had no idea. They thought Import substitution industrialization was the answer. Secondly after capitalist Britain ruled (and ruined India) for 200 years would any country want to follow the system of Britain? Which economists should be followed? British ones? How about Dr. Ambedkar's policies? he is an economist.

China also opened up more, and the one-child policy gave it a bigger demographic dividend.

One child policy had no effect on China's population size. It was their widespread education pre-1979 than reduced fertility.

That does not explain the riots here in Chile. In fact, it does sound like you think education is a panacea. What do you think of North Korean education? Cuban? Costa Rican?

The riots are a non-issue in the big scheme of things. Yes education is the fundamental factor for human well being. I have no idea about north korean education, cuban is very ideological I assume, no idea about Costa Rica, I assume it is similar to say Mexico.

Anyway it's not what is taught in school that is important. It is the quantum jump that comes with being able to read, write, reason, interpret, understand the world that is important. As compared to a totally illiterate person.

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